A placed horse is one that finishes typically first, second or third in a race, and place betting is a way of buying insurance if your horse fails to cross the winning line first. With an Each Way (EW) bet, half of your stake goes on a win, and half of it goes on a place. If the horse wins both bets win, but if the horse comes second or third, then the win bet loses but the place pays. With a Place bet, the bet wins the same amount of money regardless of whether the horse finished first second or third.
Thus a £5 EW bet on a horse priced at 7/2, is two separate bets of £5. The win element wins £5 @ 7/2, £17.50, which with the returned stake gives £22.50. The place element wins a quarter of the odds (£17.50 divided by 4) £4.37, which with the returned stake gives £9.37. If both bets win then £31.87 is returned for a £10 stake. If the horse only finished second or third however, £9.37 is returned for £10 originally staked.
A £10 place bet on a horse priced at £2.00, returns £20, regardless of whether the horse finished 1st 2nd or 3rd.
Bookmakers do not offer place bets, it is a tote concept. However most major bookmakers will accept place bets at tote prices if this is clearly stated on the slip, and the bets can be placed on course. Tote prices are returned in pounds. In the above example a £2.00 return price simply means that for every pound staked £2.00 is returned. A £1.50 tote price returns £1.50 for every pound staked, and a £5.00 tote price, £5.00 for every pound staked. Tote prices do not suffer Rule 4 deductions. If withdrawals make the place bet void then it becomes a tote win bet. Generally the tote returns better odds than market starting prices (SP) on outsiders, but short odds on favourites. Tote returns are never less than £1.05. This offers leverage on a very short priced favourite, for instance if a horse is 1 to 20 odds-on in the SP market, then that is a win price, and by doing a tote place bet on the same horse you would not get less than £1.05 as long as it was placed. Tote “shows” are not shown in betting shops, but live tote feeds are available on-line. Tote results are normally displayed as four monetary values, e.g. £15.70 £3.60 £1.70 £1.10. The first is the tote win price on the winner, and the next 3 prices refer to the place prices of the winner the second and the third placed horse.
You can see that an EW bet pays out more than a place bet if the horse wins, but less if it comes second or third. As a rough guide prices of about 4/1 will return your total stake on an EW bet if the horse comes second or third. The value of EW and place betting is usually in accumulator betting. By doing an EW treble you insure against one of your horses being nudged out in a photo finish, and can still expect a reasonable return. If you place an “EW Treble” that is two bets, one on all 3 horses winning and one on all three horses being placed. If you place an “EW all EW treble” that means that after each leg of the treble, the pot so far is split into two bets (one win and one place) in the next leg of it.
The chance of a horse winning or being placed is affected by whether the race is a handicap or non-handicap and by the number of runners. For betting purposes a horse is “placed” in some races if it comes fourth, and “unplaced” in some races if it comes third. Also some of these places will pay different amounts of the SP. The general rules are:
Non-Handicaps: 5-7 runners a quarter of the odds for the first 2 places; 8 or more runners a fifth of the odds for the first 3 places.
Handicaps: 5-7 runners a quarter of the odds for the first 2 places; 8-11 runners a fifth of the odds for the first 3 places; 12-15 runners a quarter of the odds for the first 3 places; 16 or more runners a quarter of the odds for the first 4 places.
If there are less than 5 runners, any place bet becomes a win bet. Check your bookmaker rules before placing a bet, as in some big races they may offer 5 places.
EW and place betting allows the punter to buy insurance against an unexpected event that stops his chosen horse winning, but it still finishes in the places. The limitation of “EW” is that the stake is pre-divided 50/50. This can give vastly different returns depending on the price of the horse and whether it wins or is placed. A bet on a short priced horse each way places too much money on it being placed; and an EW bet on a horse at 20/1 places too much money on it winning. This can be evened out by splitting the stake in a better way into two separate bets a win bet and a place bet.
EW and place betting is also useful in accumulator betting, as it can take account of an unexpected mishap without ruining a decent payout, but in all cases understand the rules before you place the bet.